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As soon as you start investing in a social media strategy for your business, you’ll run up against the challenge of proving its value. Stakeholders will inevitably ask you how to measure success on social media, and they’ll want to see numbers and graphs illustrating the hard numbers and business benefits of Twitter, Facebook, and other channels.

Of course, it’s easy to track the number of followers or fans you have over time. But, it gets tricky when you need to show how Twitter helps with brand awareness or how Facebook boosts word of mouth marketing with your potential customer base.

Luckily, there are a number of social media tools available that track engagement and metrics to help you prove the value of your online efforts. The benefits of a social media tool are usually twofold: first, you can generate the numbers and metrics that stakeholders want to see and prove the success of your initiative. Secondly, it helps you better understand what is and isn’t working on social media so you can increase your efficacy over time.

Here are three of the top social media tools and why you should use each one:

Hootsuite

What it is: One of the most popular social media management tools, Hootsuite helps you track and manage your social media networks (primary Twitter). You can create different streams in one single view to easily monitor things like mentions, retweets, keywords, and more. You also get a free weekly email report with the number of clicks per day, geographical information on the people who are clicking through, top referrers, and most popular links.

Why you should use it: The true power of Hootsuite comes from the ability to monitor very specific conversations. You can set up a stream to display all Tweets that mention “writing help” or “question about SEO” (or another word or phrase that relates to your business). Then, you have a real-time view about what people are talking about and you can easily jump into very targeted conversations where your chances of engagement are much higher.

TweetReach

What it is: TweetReach monitors all tweets about a campaign or topic. You can set up a search query about a keyword, hashtag, or username, and then the Tweetreach tracker will analyze all related tweets to calculate metrics like reach, exposure, and impressions.

Why you should use it: Tweetreach helps you prove the value of bigger, awareness-driven social media campaigns. For example, perhaps you want to promote a conference you’ll be attending and want to drive people to sign up for a meeting at your booth. The hard objective is to increase sign-ups, but there is still value in the campaign even if you don’t get any sign-ups from social media. With a tool like Tweetreach, you can show how many impressions you generated (for free!), proving the brand awareness factor and helping you see the exact messaging that resonated the most with your audience.

Buffer

What it is: Buffer makes it super easy to share any page you’re reading. With the Buffer Chrome extension, you can share content on social media from right inside your browser, rather than having to copy and paste a link and open a new window for Twitter or Facebook. Buffer also lets you share content on a manual or optimized schedule, to boost your chances of posting content at the best possible times.

Why you should use it: Buffer makes it easy to put content at the forefront of your social media strategy. You can quickly share relevant news with your audience, allowing to maintain a regular publishing schedule and share the newest content with your followers. Sharing other people’s content also helps you with your own content creation. Sharing other content lets you experiment with different voices, styles, and formats, giving you additional insight into what your audience likes.

Next Steps

If you are committed to bolstering your brand through social media, then social tracking is a must-have. Uncovering insights into what kind of content resonates with your audience will allow you to prove the success of your work and ultimately reach the maximum number of people.

And, you can finally have an answer when someone asks you, “So, what was the ROI from that last Twitter campaign?”

Do you need help tracking and measuring the ROI of your online marketing? Let’s talk! Marketing online does not need to be left to chance — nor does it have to be an expense.

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